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Landmark Communications

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Landmark Communications

Landmark Media Enterprises LLC
Type Private
Genre Media
Founded 1905
Founder(s) Samuel L. Slover, Frank Batten
Headquarters 150 Granby Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510-2075
Key people

Frank Batten Jr., Chairman and CEO

Jack Ross, President and COO
Subsidiaries Dominion Enterprises
Expedient
The Virginian-Pilot
Landmark Community Newspapers
KLAS-TV

Landmark Media Enterprises LLC (formerly Landmark Communications) is a privately held media company headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia specializing in broadcast television, newspaper publishing, internet publishing, software and data centers.

History

The company was founded in 1905 as Norfolk Newspapers, a holding company for the newspaper properties of Samuel L. Slover. They included papers which would eventually become today's Virginian-Pilot.

Frank Batten, Slover's nephew, took over the company in 1955, and changed its name to Norfolk-Portsmouth Newspapers Inc. in 1957 (reflecting the merger of the Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch and Portsmouth Star), then to Landmark Communications in 1967.[1] It became Landmark Media Enterprises in 2008. Landmark is controlled by the Batten family.

Properties

Landmark owns six daily newspapers:

The company also owns over 120 community and special-interest newspapers in 16 states. That includes seven publications that cover college sports at Florida State University, University of Florida, Indiana University, University of Iowa (Voice of The Hawkeyes), University of Nebraska, University of Kentucky and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, is part of Landmark's holdings. It acquired the TV station in 1978 from a trust left by Howard Hughes upon his death.

Landmark owns Dominion Enterprises, which runs classified advertising websites such as The Employment Guide and Homes.com for several sectors, including real estate, apartments, employment, boats, vehicles, heavy equipment, parenting, travel, franchises and businesses for sale. Dominion also provides software as a service products to real estate agents, auto dealers and motorcycle dealers.

The company also owns Expedient, a leading provider of data center (colocation) and managed data network services. Expedient has data centers in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Boston, Baltimore, Columbus and Indianapolis.

Former properties

Landmark's predecessor, Norfolk Newspapers, first entered broadcasting in 1930, when it bought Virginia's oldest radio station, WTAR. It later added Virginia's second television station (and Hampton Roads' first), WTAR-TV (now WTKR) and an FM station (now WVKL). It acquired WFMY-TV in Greensboro as part of its purchase of the Greensboro, North Carolina newspapers in 1965. However, FCC crossownership rules forced Landmark to sell off WFMY in 1976 and WTAR-TV in 1981. Under the rules, Landmark could not own both a newspaper and a television station in the same market.

Landmark was a former owner of KNTV in San Jose, California from 1978-1990. During its 12-year ownership of the station, KNTV (then affiliated with ABC and serving the Monterey / Salinas media market) was its only station that was not an affiliate of the CBS network. Landmark also briefly owned WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, but was forced to sell it immediately due to FCC restrictions. Landmark owned The Travel Channel from 1992 to 1996, when it was sold to Paxson Communications.

The company owned Chicago magazine from 1990-1995, when it was sold to Primedia. At one time, Landmark owned a minority share of the Washingtonian Magazine, until its rights were traded to Eleanor Merrill, widow of its publisher Philip Merrill, in exchange for full ownership of the Annapolis Capital and five other Maryland newspapers.[2]

Landmark owned the hobby publisher Antique Trader Publications until its sale to Krause Publications in 1999.[3] In December 2001, Landmark announced it would close its subsidiary Church Impressions, based in Greenville, North Carolina, which published church directories, portraits, and other print and web media products.

Landmark formerly owned four career training schools that focus on health-related career education: Glendale Career College, Certified Careers Institute, Nevada Career Institute and Virginia Career Institute.

On September 19, 2007, it was announced that Continental Broadband (CB), a Landmark Communications (Landmark Media Enterprises) company, sold its South Florida business unit, WebUnited, to Cavalier Telephone, a full-service provider of telecommunications solutions.

In early 2008, the Landmark confirmed that it was exploring the sale of the entire company.[5] Two separate investment banks, JPMorgan Chase and Lehman Brothers, were hired to help with the sale of The Weather Channel and the newspapers.

Landmark's best-known media outlet was The Weather Channel, based in Atlanta, Georgia. As part of its divestiture, the company announced in July 2008 the $3.5 billion sale of its Weather Channel properties, which included its share of The Weather Network and weather.com, plus Weather Services International and MétéoMédia, to NBCUniversal and the private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. Landmark and NBC Universal completed the sale on September 12, 2008.[6]

On July 14 of that year, it was announced that WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee would be sold to Bonten Media Group,[7] but that sale did not close. Landmark eventually sold the station to Journal Communications in 2012.[8][9]

In October 2008, the company announced that it was suspending the sale of most of its properties, citing the ongoing credit crisis, with the exception of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper.[10]

Landmark sold the News & Record newspaper in Greensboro, North Carolina to Berkshire Hathaway on Jan. 31, 2013. In May 2013, Landmark sold the Roanoke Times, the metropolitan newspaper serving Roanoke, Virginia, to the company.[11]

Financial news

In 2008, Landmark announced that it would terminate its pension fund, which covered some of its retirees and current employees. The plan was fully funded. The pension beneficiaries were able to choose between a lump-sum distribution or an annuity provided by an insurance company.

See also

References

External links

  • Columbia Journalism Review
  • LCNI buys Pageland paper, a June 2005 article about Landmark's purchase of the Pageland Progressive-Journal


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